The food that you eat while you conceive has a great effect on your baby – both positively and negatively. Here are some very important food related tips that can help you considerably and it will definitely boost your chances of getting pregnant as well as to have a healthy baby. (You need to make some adjustments in your diet at least three months before you actually conceive?)
Food and fertility are very much linked and both the man and the women have to be conscious about taking nutritious food. If you can go on with a balanced diet and a healthy atmosphere, the better it will be for your newborn. Here are some specific advises to you, and your partner will also be benefitted from it to become a healthy dad. (Read more about Nutritional tips to improve male fertility)
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Get the right weight
If you are preparing to get pregnant, you have to make sure that you have the right weight. If you are a bit fatty, then you should shed a little weight, but do not try to lose weight all of a sudden, as it will deplete your body’s nutritional stores and it will ultimately affect your body and the chances of pregnancy. If you are underweight, then you have to gain some. You have to be close to the prescribed weight since being overweight and underweight can reduce your chances of conceiving. If you are not sure about the ideal weight, you can consult your doctor to get a clear picture of it.
Maintain a healthy eating plan
Maintaining a healthy eating plan means having a balanced diet that is rich is all the essential nutrients and to avoid food items that are rich in sugar and fat such as cakes, ice-creams and pastries. The Food Standards Agency recommends the following food plan while trying to conceive:
Eat a lot of fruits and vegetables and it can be fresh, dried, frozen, tinned, or in juicy form and the aim is to have at least five portions a day.
Food items that are rich in carbohydrates like rice, potatoes, bread, and pasta.
Sources of proteins like fish, chicken, eggs, lean meat, and pulses (lentils and beans).
Try to include some oily fish in the diet at least twice a week, but do not take more than two portions of it a week. You can include mackerel, trout, sardines, and fresh tuna (not canned one that is not counted as oily fish).
Dairy food like milk, yoghurt, and cheese that are rich in calcium.
Food items that are rich in iron like red meat, bread, pulses, green vegetables, dried fruit, and fortified breakfast cereals that will help you to boost the resources of iron in your body for the preparation of pregnancy.
If you can take some food or drink that contain vitamin C, like lemon or orange juice or some vegetables or fruits, it will help your body considerably to absorb iron.
Supplement with vitamin
Though you can meet almost all your nutritional needs through a balanced diet, many of the experts believe that even the healthiest of the lot needs some additional help. The vitamin supplements should be taken to ensure the presence of all the essential elements in your body while you are conceiving. Though these supplements are prescribed, it cannot be substituted for a sound diet. Remember that an overdose of vitamin supplements will be harmful to your body and you are expected to take it with the advice of your doctor.
Folic acid is helpful not only for pregnant women, but for everyone, as this B vitamin has been linked to reduce cancer, strokes, heart attacks and diabetes. Every pregnant woman should take it as it reduces the risk of neural tube birth defects such as spina bifida, a very serious congenital condition that occurs when the tube that is found around the central nervous system fails to close completely.
If you are pregnant or trying to conceive, you should take a folic acid supplement of 400 micrograms (mcg) a day- also written as 0.4 milligrams (mg). You have to start taking it from the time you stop contraceptive till the 12th week of pregnancy. You have to note that the supplement that you use does not contain fresh liver oil or vitamin A.
Modern doctors recommend a higher dose of folic acid a day, 5 milligrams (mg), for women who have had a previous instance of neural tube defect pregnancy. The higher dose is also recommended for women who have sickle cell disease or coeliac disease or if taking anti-epileptic drugs. In addition to the vitamin supplements, it will be a wise choice if you are using food that is rich in folic acid like citrus fruits, brown rice, cereals, fortified breads, nuts, and dark green leafy vegetables such as kale or spinach.
Cut the consumption of alcohol
If you use alcohol regularly, it is time to put break on it; you may either drop the habit or should take it occasionally. It will be dangerous for your newborn if you take more than two units of alcohol once or twice a week. A unit means half a pint of standard strength beer, cider or lager, or a pub measure of spirit. The risk involved with the intake of alcohol is that it will affect the growing fetus drastically. You have to avoid drinking while you stop using contraceptives so that you may not feel sorry. This also helps you to avoid unnecessary worry. (Read more about The hidden threats to fertility)
Think about caffeine
Though there is no real evidence of fertility problems associated with caffeinated beverages like coffee, tea, and colas, the Food Standard Agency advises that pregnant women should limit their intake of caffeine. Some studies suggest that the consumption of more than 200 mg of caffeine has linked to low birth rate and miscarriage. So it will be a better idea to control the consumption of alcohol and to stay off from cocoa, chocolate, coffee, and fizzy drinks.
If you want to check how much caffeine you are consuming now, check the following: 200 mg of caffeine is roughly equivalent to:
Two mugs (100 mg each) of instant coffee.
Two cups of (100 mg each) brewed coffee.
Four cups of (50 mg each) tea.
Five cans (40 mg each) of cola.
Four bars (50 grams) of plain chocolate. (Remember that caffeine in milk chocolate is considerably low in caffeine).
What else to avoid?
The guidelines of the Food Standard Agency suggest that women who are trying to get pregnant should avoid the following:
Women who are looking to conceive should avoid an excess intake of vitamin A as it could harm your baby in different ways. It means that you should avoid eating liver and liver products like liver oil and taking supplements containing vitamin A.
Avoid all the fishes that may contain mercury like marlin, swordfish and shark. You can eat tuna but not more than two tuna steaks a week that weighs about 170 grams raw or 140 grams cooked. Fishes that may carry mercury with them will pass it to your body and it will ultimately harm the developing nervous system of your growing baby.
A healthy and balanced diet has a great influence to have conception and to have a healthy child. Your doctor or midwife can also help you to find the dos and don’ts while trying to conceive